'Review: The Global Cafe, Toronto, 13 November 1998' by Grant Goddard


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Review of the 'Global Cafe' one-day conference for the world music industry, held in Toronto, Canada in 1998, written by Grant Goddard in November 1998 for Toronto World Arts Scene magazine.

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'Review: The Global Cafe, Toronto, 13 November 1998' by Grant Goddard

  1. 1. REVIEW: THE GLOBAL CAFÉ, TORONTO, 13 NOVEMBER 1998 by GRANT GODDARD www.grantgoddard.co.uk November 1998
  2. 2. THE GLOBAL CAFÉ, TORONTO, 13 NOVEMBER 1998 Subtitled 'a gathering of the world music community in Toronto', this one-day conference was a first attempt to draw together in one room a diverse selection of workers in the city's world music industry. But the event would have achieved a much more cozy and informal ambience if a greater number of the sixty-odd participants had chosen to sit in the almost empty rows of seats at the front of the conference room, rather than at tables at the very back. Four seminars, each with a different set of panelists, covered a wide range of pertinent topics. Contributions from the floor greatly enlivened these discussions, offering viewpoints that often cut through the inevitable platitudes and self-promotion. Why do so many music buyers in record stores have so little knowledge of the music product whose fate they determine? When are the world music categories of the Juno Awards going to be included in the televised show? Will the major Canadian record companies ever invest in Canadian world music talent? Where is the effective national distribution for Canadian world music CD releases? And, of course, the age-old question – does the 'world music' tag help or restrict an artist's success? There were several points on which participants (almost) agreed. Toronto is lucky to enjoy a world music 'scene' unparalleled in North America, thanks to the Harbourfront's excellent summer concert series, and to the sheer cultural diversity of the city. But the market for world music across Canada is still not big enough to make good financial sense, so that artists must think more globally and less parochially. Major record label representatives suggested that selling 1,000 copies of a world music CD across Canada was a major achievement, even with their marketing budgets and teams of sales representatives. Everyone was confident that the interest in world music is still growing, particularly amongst young people becoming bored with rock and pop (and MuchMusic). The conference organisers, Music Alliance Projects, hope eventually to create a real-life Global Café in Toronto, offering facilities and services to musicians, alongside a retail space for CDs, magazines and international beverages. In the meantime, you can visit their virtual café at www.interlog.com/~mapsters or call (416) 631 7041 for more information. The World Music Directory distributed to participants of the conference will prove particularly valuable to anyone actively involved in this genre of music. [First published in 'Toronto World Arts Scene' magazine, November (??) 1998] Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk Review: The Global Café, Toronto, 13 November 1998 ©1998 Grant Goddard page 2